There must be new action against illegal taxis this weekend – Taxi Council
Legislation that increased enforcement and penalties against illegal taxis came into force yesterday, and Queensland’s peak taxi body has called for a massive enforcement campaign by the Department of Transport this weekend.
Taxi Council Queensland (TCQ) says the industry has had enough of illegal operators flouting the law and disadvantaging law abiding small business owners who drive, operate, and own taxis. TCQ Chief Operating Officer Wayne Crooks said the parliament has given the order and it is now up to the department to act.
“More words are not good enough. It’s time for action and we expect to see enforcement on this first weekend following the legislation becoming law.” Mr Crookes said TCQ would be monitoring both illegal taxi activity across the entertainment precincts and the actions of transport inspectors and will be encouraging taxi drivers to do the same.
“Drivers must not approach any person or vehicle they suspect of operating an illegal taxi, but should report it to their booking company or to Taxi Council Queensland.” He said a failure to enforce the new laws will result in widespread anger across the taxi industry.
“We will be talking to the Government next week, either to congratulate them for taking this issue seriously, or to register our disappointment about the inaction of the department. I hope it is the former.”
Statement from Taxi Council Queensland
Taxi Council Queensland welcomes the legislation passed in the Queensland Parliament that will provide greater enforcement of existing taxi regulations. This legislation has nothing to do with stifling competition or innovation – it has to do with upholding the law and stopping the illegal operation of taxi services. For too long so called “ridesharing” services have been allowed to use their money and size to strong-arm governments into accepting that existing regulations could be ignored and that law-abiding small business owners like taxi owners, operators and drivers didn’t matter.
Why should over 16,000 small business owners that represent Queensland’s taxi industry be punished for simply upholding the law, while those that ignore the law are rewarded? If taxi regulations don’t matter, why should any company in any field uphold any regulations? This is grossly unfair and unconscionable.
The taxi industry also welcomes the new legislation in respect to CTP insurance. Taxi drivers pay over $6000 per year in CTP and no one should be allowed to gain an unfair market advantage by transporting passengers and avoiding this cost.
The taxi industry now calls on the Department of Transport and Main Roads and their inspectors on the ground to act on this legislation and prove they are taking this matter seriously. This includes the enforcement of the correct class of CTP insurance for anyone offering passenger transportation. Effective enforcement is now required – no more talk, but action.
Taxi Council Queensland continues to work with the current ‘Opportunities for Personalised Transport Review’ (OPT), and looks forward to a longer-term solution when this report is handed down. The taxi industry supports – and leads - innovation and we welcome competition. But it must be on a level playing field. This is what the OPT is about and that is the forum to argue your case. Until this review is competed, regulations should be upheld. You cannot change laws through operating outside the law or by social media campaigns – any changes must take into consideration the long-term effects and benefits for the Queensland economy and all Queenslanders.
Taxi Council of Queensland Inc.
April 20, 2016
Statement from Taxi Council Queensland – Re: Katter Australia Party bill
Queensland is currently undertaking the ‘Opportunities for Personalised Transport Review’ (OPT), chaired by Jim Varghese AM, and Taxi Council Queensland (TCQ) is contributing to the review.
Separate to this, the Katter Australia Party (KAP) introduced a bill to parliament which was referred to the parliament’s Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee (IPNRC). The KAP bill is focused on increasing enforcement and compliance against illegal taxi services, and the IPNRC provided a list of recommendations which included the Minister for Transport taking “immediate action to ensure that compliance with the regulatory system is enforced”. Furthermore, the committee requested that the minister provide information on these increased compliance measures to the House (the subject of tonight’s debate).
TCQ looks forward to the outcome of the OPT review (expected in August), but has also consistently called for enforcement of the existing laws in the meantime. No one should be able to flout the law by operating an illegal taxi service, and no one is above the law. TCQ believes that if one set of regulations is allowed to be ignored simply because the culprit has the money to ignore the law, it jeopardises the rule of law generally. The issue of complying with regulations is far larger than the taxi industry.